(Review published in The Los Angeles Review, March 2018)
Camille Rankine’s compelling debut collection, Incorrect Merciful Impulses, enacts the struggles of one trying to connect broadly with society and more intimately with both another person and one’s self. The threat of disconnection is everywhere. In the opening poem, “Tender,” the speaker begins:
None of this means what we thought it did
Dear bone fragments
Dear broken skin
I am in over my head
The voice takes on a tone of tender weariness. The spacious lines, lack of punctuation, and the endearing, repetitive address “dear” opens up space for the uncertain and overwhelmed speaker struggling with present and past threats.
These struggles inhabit…